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What Really is Personal Branding and Reputation?

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Last year I attended a Women in Property event which was facilitated by the Property Council to hear a presentation on the charity Dress for Success.

One of the first things they spoke about was the fact that one in every 12 women are unemployed or actively seeking work in New Zealand. The Dress for Success charity works with women all around the globe to help them build confidence and help them in their job search.

The evening’s second speaker followed up nicely with an engaging talk on personal brand and reputation. How you manage your personal brand and reputation can make a significant difference to how successful you will be in growing your personal career or business.

So what is personal branding and how does it differ from your reputation?

What is Your Personal Brand and Reputation?

Long gone are the days of just coming in and doing your job. In today’s world, your personal brand and reputation is paramount, but what are they really?

Your brand is who and what you are. Your reputation is what the world around you thinks of your brand. What makes up your brand is everything down to your core; what you do, how you feel, what you think, the style you present, your behaviours, passions, integrity, authenticity, consistency and how you set yourself apart.

Brand is all about trust. A good example is Lance Armstrong, the former professional road racing cyclist who fell from grace after a doping scandal. Lance has raised more money than any other single person for cancer research, yet still has a negative brand and isn’t trusted by millions around the world.

The key is to live and breathe your brand and use it to build influence. To find out what your brand is, ask yourself; what sets you apart? What makes you stand out? Does your skillset set you aside from everyone else? Are you good at solving unique problems? To help you answer some of these questions try this simple exercise.

Look at the last ten emails you sent:

  • How do you want to be perceived by the outside world?
  • Do your last ten emails align with what you want your brand to be?

Now ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. How do your contacts form their perception of you?
  2. Are you living your brand values internally as well as externally?
  3. How much influence do you have?
  4. Do you see yourself as the world around you sees you? Have you asked?

It’s important to define who and what you are. You’re the Managing Director of your own brand, you’re the only one in control of it.

Social media is a huge part of today’s world. Your personal brand includes everything you say, write, pin, post, photograph, like, share, tweet and do! All of it makes up your digital footprint which can drastically impact your brand. Is there anything online you wouldn’t want someone else to see? Specifically, a potential employer? It’s been widely reported that 93% of Hiring Managers will search for a candidate online before making a hiring decision. So Google yourself – regularly!

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

Summary

A strong personal brand is critical to growing as a professional. You’re the only one who can control yours, so define and take ownership of your identity. As you gain new work and life experiences, your brand should change to reflect them. The last thing to consider is whether your brand aligns with that of your workplace’s culture? Definitely something to ponder when considering your next opportunity.

If you need more expert advice on your personal brand, or what help finding that next opportunity, then don’t hesitate to contact me today.